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I  remind myself that I am a lot harder on me than I would be on someone else and to not give myself negative messages. I actually force myself to stop when I am thinking something negative, and ask myself if what I m saying is really reality or not. Most of the time, I can come up with reasons why the negative messages are not true, and if I can't, I try to think of ways to make myself feel better until the moment passes. I guess it is basically changing what automatic messages I give to myself. I learned this strategy in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes, which I would highly recommend. 

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I  remind myself that I am a lot harder on me than I would be on someone else and to not give myself negative messages. I actually force myself to stop when I am thinking something negative, and ask myself if what I m saying is really reality or not. Most of the time, I can come up with reasons why the negative messages are not true, and if I can't, I try to think of ways to make myself feel better until the moment passes. I guess it is basically changing what automatic messages I give to myself. I learned this strategy in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes, which I would highly recommend. 

 

My therapist has me trying to do this as well .... but I find it so hard to do. I can't stop my negative thoughts and change them to something more positive, I find it impossible. I also have a DBT workbook that I have been using to try and help me with this, but still can't do it. But it is good advice, thanks Lavenders.

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I find that socializing and being around people helps my self-esteem.  The more I isolate, the more I buy into the thoughts that I am ugly, worthless, incompetent, etc. 

 

I also use affirmations.  At first I thought they were silly, but practicing saying kind things to myself has been helpful in starting to feel more compassion toward myself.

 

Light exercise helps my mood in general and gives me a confidence boost.

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I  remind myself that I am a lot harder on me than I would be on someone else and to not give myself negative messages. I actually force myself to stop when I am thinking something negative, and ask myself if what I m saying is really reality or not. Most of the time, I can come up with reasons why the negative messages are not true, and if I can't, I try to think of ways to make myself feel better until the moment passes. I guess it is basically changing what automatic messages I give to myself. I learned this strategy in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes, which I would highly recommend. 

 

My therapist has me trying to do this as well .... but I find it so hard to do. I can't stop my negative thoughts and change them to something more positive, I find it impossible. I also have a DBT workbook that I have been using to try and help me with this, but still can't do it. But it is good advice, thanks Lavenders.

 

Well, the thing I found was that it is a process. I remember someone telling me that it didn't take a day to program the negative thoughts into my brain and that it would likely take even longer to replace them (or something like that.) It did take quite a while, and is still ongoing, years later, but I think the thing is, not to be hard on yourself about how you are doing from day to day. If I couldn't do it one day I would try again the next. I remember there was a point when the positive, or at least compassionate thoughts won out, and then continued to win the majority space in my head. That was a great feeling.

Edited by Lavenders
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I play guitar, and stare at my abs in the mirror. I wish I was kidding. 

 

edit: Kept this brief and vague for comedic effect, but seriously, learning something new--anything (ukulele, drawing, woodwork, skateboarding, crochet, whatever) and exercise are awesome self-esteem boosters.

Edited by arr
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I never know what to do. I have days or even hours when I have ridiculously, disproportionately high self esteem, but when the depression gets bad I'm really struck down by the realisation that I am stupid, boring, whoreish, horrible, depraved, and hideously ugly. They're simply facts, at least, to me. I never know what to do but to detach myself from my awful self as much as I can (I have very little sense of a loyal bond to my physical self) and wait until I have a better day.

Sorry if that was gibberish.

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I remind myself that my feelings and self-regard need a label saying "Calibration Disputed: use with caution,"

 

In debate an argument, case or viewpoint is not the slightest bit more valid for being shouted or delivered with high levels of emotion.

But this not so easily remembered when someone is screaming or crying right in front you or, even closer, from inside your own head.

 

"Is that so?   Let's give it a moment's thought."

(Not what I'd say to someone in tears in front of me!   There the *thought* might be "you're hurting, and I'll try to help that, but it doesn't mean you're right of a necessity.")

 

Me, I'm on the autistic spectrum (that may have shown already in the above) so my answers on self-esteem may not be typical.

Having had more than one extended depressive episode, I've done some tidying up on my mind on the area of worth, self-esteem etc. trying to get that dug-in, settled and established *before* another wave hits me,  in case it does.

 

Yeah, I know, good advice except for those already up to their armpits in alligators, who would *love* to be able to contemplate the issue with relative detachment.  "But it's biting me now!"  

 

I do try to sketch myself in, rather better than the most pathetic and miserable or evil person on the planet (me, have a  world record?  come off it... you are not that good at being vile or hopeless)  and something short of being the best.   (Out of seven billion?   There's better odds on the lottery than that!).   So somewhere between the extremes.  Not so remarkable either way, then, on that scale.

 

What's the measuring scale, anyway, and who's doing the judging, and what are their qualifications?

(this makes for some muddying of the waters, at least, which is a good step away from being absolutely totally certain I am utterly useless.)

 

Beyond that I suspect finding positives, and accepting them, and finding purpose and direction, however much at small scale, is going to be very individual.

 

If I've not gone off along  my own tangent already.

 

Chris.

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I try to be kind and forgiving to myself. I try to remember that I have an illness and so shouldn't feel too bad about my lack of achievement. I try to exercise, eat healthy and wear clothes that fit well and suit me. I think exercise in particular is really helpful for my self-esteem. 

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in all honesty - i'm at such a low that there isn't much i can do but give it time. i mean, sure, i knit, exercise, and try to be kind to myself, but it's just one of those things right now that i just leave be. it's just the way it is right now. it sucks, and i hate it, but that's it.

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I actually don't try to raise my self-esteem. It's very difficult to raise global self-esteem and high self-esteem actually may not be as helpful as psychologists thought it was a few years ago. Could you expand more about why you would like to raise your self-esteem? Often that raises what the actual issue is, and gives insight into how you could specifically address those.

 

For example if you're struggling with really negative self-thoughts CBT is often recommended, although I much prefer mindfulness and cognitive defusion from acceptance and commitment therapy.

If you feel like there's a goal you would like to achieve but doubt your ability, you can learn more about a construct called "self-efficacy" and how you can increase that. Self-efficacy is a specific concept - you can have high self-efficacy for flying a kite but low self-efficacy for riding a bike. Self-efficacy develops mostly through mastery experiences, so make sure you set small achievable goals. Encouragement from others can increase self-efficacy, as can you watching another person demonstrate how to achieve that goal. Self-efficacy is diminished by depression and anxiety, so treatment helps.

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I use affirmations, plan my day the night before and surround myself with positive and forward thinking things. ( Books, people, pictures, movies, music) 

I have also found that discovering what I sincerely value in life and living my passion has greatly helped my self esteem. I also exercise. Working out is a natural anti depressant and many people ( including me ) get a post workout " lift." 

 

There is also a workbook by Dr. David Burns called " 10 Days to Self Esteem" that has been helpful. 

 

I think one of the imperative ways to improve your self esteem is to talk back to your negative and self critical talk and to reframe negative thinking. 

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